We shall get prepared against the next influenza pandemic. Now!


When in May 2011 the World Health Assembly approved resolution A64/8 endorsing the implementation of the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness framework it established a new important principle: the one by which whatever entity generates a return from health shall do so paying back some of those benefit to the general population. The approval of the resolution was welcomed from all concerned parties signalling that fair and equitable deals can be achieved when the public interest is put first.

In the specific, pandemic influenza vaccine, antiviral and diagnostic manufacturers, irrespective of their ownership and their geographical location, are supposed to contribute 28 million USD yearly to the strengthening of the surveillance network and preparedness efforts in exchange for the profits that will be generated in the event of pandemic.

Now, two years after the historic approval, the situation has moved forward rather slowly. Only one deal have been signed off and some funds have become available only because some of the major pharma companies has voluntarily started contributing. The implementation plan to start making use of those funds however is not yet available.

The ball is now fully on the public health side. The WHO should finalise its plans and make them public, the member states sharing theirs. It is a duty to the global health community and the only way to make the great accomplishment of two years ago moving from paper to be reality and delivering benefit to the general population .

The investment in the PIP framework shall make us better prepared to deal with the next pandemic, the funds are available, it is time to act!

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2 Responses to “We shall get prepared against the next influenza pandemic. Now!”

  1. annebert623 Says:

    The idea that companies that will profit from flu vaccines should invest in early preparation is very logical. It seems that without pressure brought to bear on the pharmaceutical companies, that’s unlikely to happen, however.

    WHO is not going to wake people up with densely-written white papers, though. This strikes me as something that President Obama could address as part of improving healthcare, if the case could be made clearly enough to evoke strong popular opinion. Perhaps there are videos available of interviews with survivors of the 1918 pandemic that could be posted on Utube.

  2. reidorth Says:

    The public health measures and risk management steps to plan and prepare for an influenza or other viral epidemic are vital to the health and well-being of the world’s population. Every day Mother Nature creates minor genetic modifications to organisms’ DNA and RNA. While mutations that lead to lethal viral stains may have been geographically isolated a hundred years ago, the world is so interconnected now that a mutation will now spread unabated like wildfire during a long summer drought. The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 infected one fifth of the world’s population and killed 50 million people. This resulted from slight mutations of the influenza A subtype H1N1, an RNA virus of the family Orthomyxoviridae family. The SARS epidemic of 2003 and another H1N1 epidemic in 2009 demonstrate that there are outbreaks that can arise spontaneously, and that can rapidly spread internationally and place millions of individuals lives’ in danger

    The pharma industry over the past several decades has demonstrated they have a TREMENDOUS capacity to make a profit and serve their shareholders well. They receive BILLIONS of dollars from the U.S. government for vaccinations and flu shots for patients insured with Medicare, Medicaid, and care of federal service personnel. They also receive BILLIONS of dollars more from individuals who also pay for their own insurance. At the same time, it is important to note that they are uniquely equipped with the resources and laboratory facilities to push science and technology further and to perform the careful research required to prepare for another epidemic. And if an epidemic were to occur, they are in a position ot make millions to billions more in profit! Therefore, it is warranted, fair, and justified to require these companies to earmark R&D funds for vaccination and preventive measures, and, should a serious epidemic occur, to help confront it in an expeditious and skillful manner to save dozens, thousand, or should it reach a pandemic level, millions of lives nationwide.

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